61 Replies Latest reply: Jun 20, 2013 3:05 AM by hinterauer RSS

    What do you think the coolest element is?

    Chrisbb

        • What do you think the coolest element is?
          Frankenstein

          Liquid helium is the coolest element.

          • What do you think the coolest element is?
            radobozov

            No doubt it is Carbon as its particle/string/wave properties interference seems to break off what reality is!

            • What do you think the coolest element is?
              Ryjazz66

              Ruthenium is the coolest element! Ruthenium complexes are approachable inorganic syntheses for newcomers and provide significant challenges to keep experienced chemists busy. The beautiful colors accessible via unique coordination chemistry of Ru make it useful for photovoltaics and electrochemiluminescent devices. Not to mention its utility in organic syntheses as a catalyst. Lastly,  heavy metals rock!

              • What do you think the coolest element is?
                sdianetodd

                I have to say the coolest element is Titanium (Ti).  It is very stable, corrosion-resistant, alloys with other metals and is superstrong for its weight.  It is used to make lots of really useful products, such as glasses you can basically sit on with out breaking the frame.  It is lightweight also making it useful for the production of everyday things like medical implants and bicycles. And most especially, it is found in catalyst residues of polymers AND is really easy to quantify by X-ray Fluorescence Spectroscopy.  I could give a ton of other reasons but then I would just sound like a total nerd!

                • What do you think the coolest element is?
                  dougcarlton

                  I'd say that Tungsten is the coolest element. It's also known as Wolfram, which sounds a lot more intimidating than many of the other elements. Also, with one of the highest melting points and densities, it is quite remarkable. And to top it off, it is versatile enough to be used by some bacteria. I will admit that I am slightly partial to it since Tungsten's atomic number is the same as my college football number.

                  • What do you think the coolest element is?
                    ckah55

                    As a chromatographer, I must say silicon is the coolest element

                    • What do you think the coolest element is?
                      RMorris6022

                      The coolest element is Mercury, by far.  Liquid metal at room temperature, doesn't get much cooler than that.

                      • What do you think the coolest element is?
                        jawittb

                        The coolest element is helium, because it is inert like me.  Plus it makes you talk funny.

                        • What do you think the coolest element is?
                          jfrey

                          Potassium is by far the coolest element.  It's been my favorite ever since high school when my mad scientist chemistry teacher let us drop chunks in water!

                          • What do you think the coolest element is?
                            fcolon

                            I'm going to have to say the coolest element has got to be mercury -- what's cooler than a T-1000??? lol

                             

                            T-1000.jpg

                            • What do you think the coolest element is?
                              01699355

                              Technetium, Tc (Z = 43), is pretty darn cool. Surrounded by “stable”elements, this one has *only* radioactive isotopes.  Want some? You’ll have to make it by bombarding its neighbor molybdenum or fishing it out of a nuclear reactor. As for chemistry, it forms oxidation states 0,1,2,3,4,5,6, AND 7 (though +2 is apparently a bit hard to come by). Its use in nuclear medicine as a diagnostic tool is incredibly important.

                              • What do you think the coolest element is?
                                BMotzer

                                The coolest element is iron (Fe; Z=26):

                                (1) (1) It’s the most stable of elements limiting stellar nucleosynthesis up to Fe; elements after Fe are created by supernova nucleosynthesis.

                                (2) (2) It forms the core of the Earth (along with Ni) which resulted in Earth’s large magnetic field protecting life from extraterrestrial radiation.

                                (3) (3) It’s the basis for hemoglobin without which our cells would not get sufficient oxygen to live.

                                (4) (4) It forms large deposits (the banded iron formations or BIFs) which allowed for steel manufacture and the modern industrial revolution.

                                • What do you think the coolest element is?
                                  chemist1056

                                  I think that oxygen is pretty cool. It forms peroxides, water, many acids (at least in part), and even part of air we breath. We are appromately 70% water. That much oxygen + the oxygen making up the phospholipids, sphingolipids, sugars in DNA, amino acids, and other biochemical molecules + the regular intake of oxygen to our blood-streams received via respiration = large part of us. Oxygen is the most abundant element in the earth crust. In ozonolysis, oxygen can be a destructive force. It can form ethers, esters (favorite lab experiment thus far! ), alcohols, epoxides (pretty cool looking), carboxylic acids, ect.

                                  • What do you think the coolest element is?
                                    Balderston

                                    Silicon is pretty darn cool.  It, and it's derivatives, have so many practical uses in everyday life...from electronics to construction to manufacturing to a wide array of medical uses.  I can't imagine life without it!

                                    • What do you think the coolest element is?

                                      Tin (stannum) is the coolest element by far. It's got something for everybody with its 10 isotopes. You don't like tin-118? That's fine; we got tin-128! Not a huge fan of tin-119? That's cool; how about some tin-116 for ya?

                                      • What do you think the coolest element is?
                                        andycapo

                                        Well, obviously the coolest element is Gallium, it melts in your hand and is not that dangerous to handle, unlike Caesium...

                                         

                                        With gallium you can do some clear tricks like the disappearing spoon in hot tea or the beating heart...hours of fun!!!!

                                        • Re: What do you think the coolest element is?
                                          katharine.b

                                          My favorite is Nitrogen.  We breathe it all day long, we eat it and excrete it, heck - it's in our DNA to love Nitrogen!

                                          • What do you think the coolest element is?
                                            mdunstan

                                            The coolest element has to be carbon! There is no other element that can make life possible. It is everywhere and cycles with so much clarity. Organic, inorganic, biochemistry. It is all good.

                                            • Re: What do you think the coolest element is?
                                              BARNES

                                              Unbihexium. A long lived superactinide – what would be cooler than that? Besides science is best when searching for the undiscovered

                                              • What do you think the coolest element is?
                                                guillaume.nars

                                                The coolest element ? Hydrogen of course : 1 proton and 1 electron. 

                                                • What do you think the coolest element is?
                                                  wtrammell

                                                  The coolest element - Phosphorus. Why? Probably due to the way it was discovered. The alchemist, Herman Brand, isolated it by letting buckets of urine sit around and evaporate. It's symbol is "P" - rather appropriate, I might add. You have to admire Mrs. Brand, assuming there was one, for her tolerance of this experiment. Neither my wife nor my mother would have allowed me to do this. Phosphorus proved helpful in creating match heads, so it lived up to its name as a "light bearer."

                                                    • What do you think the coolest element is?
                                                      wtrammell

                                                      More on Phosphorus and its discovery in urine: Researchers at the Bristol Robotics Lab have found that urine could be used as an alternative power source where, instead of excreting it, the urine could be recycled to power a microbial fuel cell (MFC), a kind of fuel cell that uses bacterial cultures to break down 'food' to create power. Dr. Ioannis Ieropoulo, a researcher on this project, explains: "Urine is chemically very active, rich in nitrogen and has compounds such as urea, chloride, potassium and bilirubin, which make it very good for the microbial fuel cells. We have already done preliminary tests which show it being a waste material that is very effective.” Although it is in the early days for this research, he hopes “to work towards producing a prototype portable urinal which would use urine to create power from fuel cells. We envisage that this could be used, for example, at music festivals and other outdoor events." How's that for not "peeing" away a power source.

                                                      • Re: What do you think the coolest element is?
                                                        bobbuntrock

                                                        Check out the chapter, "P is for Phosphorus" in Hugh Aldersey-Wiliams' book, "Periodic Tales" where he repeats Hennig Brand's prep of P.

                                                      • What do you think the coolest element is?
                                                        cbradford

                                                        Hi,

                                                         

                                                        I think fluorine is the coolest element. It is distinct from the other halogens in how it behaves. It is small but highly electronegative. It is radioactive and show potenital in medicine if it can quickly be incorporated and it is inter in metal catalyzed cross couple. I think fluorine is awesome.

                                                        • What do you think the coolest element is?
                                                          oemejiav

                                                          mmmmm... hard to say... I'd say that RHENIUM is the coolest: the last (stable) one to be discovered, one of the most scarce in the universe, nine oxidation states (from -1 to 7!!!) and still no major application!! still a raw diamond!

                                                          • What do you think the coolest element is?
                                                            ludvigmm

                                                            Coolest, in terms of neat and pretty, is Titanium. I have some earrings that have under gone different heat treatments and the colors are COOL!

                                                            • Re: What do you think the coolest element is?
                                                              May.@

                                                              I think the coolest element is Mn ,coz It's like a Chameleon, & I call it "the chameleon of chemistry"

                                                              but if you thought of it (the question) again, ALL elements are cool in a way or another...!!

                                                              • What do you think the coolest element is?
                                                                topper

                                                                Bismuth (Bi) is my personal favorite. The heaviest non-radioactive element, it floats on its liquid phase when it melts (like water) and has multiple solid phases (like water). As a solid it's a conductor, and as a liquid it's a semiconductor!

                                                                 

                                                                But, all that aside, human-made crystals of bismuth are BEAUTIFUL.

                                                                • What do you think the coolest element is?
                                                                  ncalta

                                                                  Ytterbium is the coolest element, because it is the main component of the mineral xenotime.  With a name like xenotime, it's pretty difficult to go wrong.

                                                                  • What do you think the coolest element is?
                                                                    markobri

                                                                    Great posts everyone.  We'll send everyone that participated in this thread their coolest element pin.  Be on the lookout for your pin in the (snail) mail. 

                                                                    PT6496_thumb.jpg

                                                                     

                                                                    Keep advocating for your coolest element. 

                                                                    • What do you think the coolest element is?
                                                                      habrahamson

                                                                      I have a fond spot for tungsten, but the coolest has to be anti-hydrogen (1 anti-proton + 1 positron). It is (for now) rarer than the super-heavy elements that have recently been synthesized.

                                                                      • What do you think the coolest element is?
                                                                        Christopher McCarthy

                                                                        ah_the_element_of_surprise.jpg

                                                                        I'm a fan of the element of surprise.

                                                                        • Re: What do you think the coolest element is?
                                                                          SilviaAlbillos

                                                                          Hmmmm, the coolest is Osmium because is the densest of all. It is interestingly used in alloys to convey extreme hardness and durability to these alloys.

                                                                           

                                                                          But above all, why I love it is because you can tell people a freaky joke, whenever someone is a pain in the neck or as we say in Spanish "muy pesado", you can always tell them: Osmium compared to you is like a noble gas!

                                                                          • Re: What do you think the coolest element is?
                                                                            scerri

                                                                            I will reply by saying that the coolest thing about all the elements is that they are related by the periodic law.  Even cooler, this law shows increasingly long sequences before the elements repeat approximately.  Then there is the curious feature that all period lengths are repeated, apart from the very first short period of two elements.  How cool is that?  In addition the order of filling governed by the n + l or madelung rule has still not been strictly derived from quantum mechanics.

                                                                             

                                                                            Eric Scerri, A Very Short Introduction to the Periodic Table, Oxford University Press, 2011. http://www.oup.com/us/catalog/general/subject/Chemistry/?view=usa&ci=97801995824 95

                                                                             

                                                                            Eric Scerri, The Periodic Table, Its Story and Its Significance, Oxford University Press, 2007. http://www.oup.com/us/catalog/general/subject/Chemistry/?view=usa&ci=97801953057 39

                                                                             

                                                                            UCLA faculty website: http://faculty.chemistry.ucla.edu/institution/personnel?personnel_id=294334

                                                                              • Re: What do you think the coolest element is?
                                                                                radobozov

                                                                                Dear Eric,

                                                                                 

                                                                                I think you've placeed a misconception of connectivity between quantum number development and the foundation of quantum mechanics by the simplest equation denoting energy as a function of frequency times wavelength. Matter was measured relative to carbon and because Einstein correlated matter and energy it was assumed that matter is quantized as is energy. This is where particle/wave duality emerged from after battling for many decades. In reality quantum chemical model was pushed due quantization of electrons space occupancy relative to nucleus (strong force) and because it was predicted that in very small space large energy can exist, it is logical to expand quantization as one expanded outwards from protons, thus further electrons would have less energetic state, thus get exited easier (posses higher wavelenght) upon interference. That is called the outter shell rule and any  second year good organic chemistry college student knows it. Now, filling up orbitals is strictly quantized in terms of rules and principles, thus one cannot state that n + l, is not quantum mechanicly derived. It was all relative to carbon, and big strugle in valance theory was how carbon's electron consideration within carbon dioxide is fitting teh configuration within methane. Therefore, for hybridization of electron density to happen, one needed to fit a theory in quantum sense by using definite space jump of e-  from 2s to 2pz, thus obeying the rule of discrete quantum states.  Chemistry' rules are purely derived upon physical principles and mechanical states observable. Now I don't really want to get further into this issue, but in accordance to quantum numbers derivation the periodicity and increase of l as n increases denotes that l increases as ml is really what gives relationship between n and l. Quantum numbers are a basic, not a general subjectivity. However, derived from the general law of quantum mechanics and direct dependency of electron wave like property and space/energy like properties. The general law that energy comes in packages applies to full extend to quantum chemistry and there is no question about its validity. Yet the two sides of equation where Heisenberg and Srodinger stand is still aiming towards principle that reduces complexity of quantum qorld.  Quantum mechanics evolved upon development of principles and aiming towards understanding time as an indepndent dimenssion of space. This is why Hiesenberg' matrix was indtroduced in molecular mechanics to transform Shrodinger potential and furter convert it to path inegral of Feynman. The problem is that if you followed on quantum chemical mechanics, although the path can take as many forms as one can imagine/compute (derived by resonance) ( thus probabilistic view applies), in reality it choses one at the time, thus time exist in many forms as well, and it cannot be taken indepndent, because if there were no time, there will be no interference and quantum numbers unify interference through spin and quantized space with time. Time can be cought on expanded space, not that large to factor out photton spped though - but who knows! I hope this post is valuable to foresee the larger movie in work- the problem of how to define time within matter interfering systems. I say principle of matter compresibility works to tranform integral path into particle/strings/waves interference. After all the first half of 20th century was pretty intense, wasn't it?     

                                                                              • Re: What do you think the coolest element is?
                                                                                scerri

                                                                                Dear Radoslav,

                                                                                 

                                                                                Thank you for responding to my posting but I am afraid this is completely incomprehensible and I suspect not just to me personally.  You have launched on a rant which seems to take issue with modern physics and are under the illusion that quantum mechanics is somehow founded on the properties of one element, carbon.  You do not quote one single references in the course of your rant.  This therefore has all the signs of somebody who is completely out on a limb.  It is too bad that you have managed to infiltrate this more serious forum.

                                                                                 

                                                                                Eric Scerri PhD

                                                                                A Very Short Introduction to the Periodic Table, Oxford University Press, 2011, http://www.oup.com/us/catalog/general/subject/Chemistry/?view=usa&ci=97801995824 95

                                                                                • Re: What do you think the coolest element is?
                                                                                  basso

                                                                                  I have to go with C, which is the basis of millions of different compounds, with all kinds of properties.  It goes from coal, essentially pure C, to long, long polymers, and all kinds of interesting structures.  C is cool.

                                                                                  • Re: What do you think the coolest element is?
                                                                                    scerri

                                                                                    One very cool element, and not very well known is number 72, hafnium. 

                                                                                    It was the subject of an enormous and bitter priority dispute between the French chemist, Urbain, and two scientists working in Bohr's Institute, Hevesy and Coster.  In addition to these actors may others took sides, much of it driven by blatant nationalism.  The British supported the French just because they had been allies in WWI.  The Teutonic scientists were seen as the opposition.  The Copenhageners won the day but not before much acrimony took place.

                                                                                     

                                                                                    Eric Scerri, A Very Short Introduction to the Periodic Table, Oxford University Press, 2011, http://www.oup.com/us/catalog/general/subject/Chemistry/?view=usa&ci=97801995824 95

                                                                                     

                                                                                    Eric Scerri, The Periodic Table, Its Story and Its Significance, Oxford University Press, 2007. http://www.oup.com/us/catalog/general/subject/Chemistry/?view=usa&ci=97801953057 39

                                                                                     

                                                                                    UCLA faculty website: http://faculty.chemistry.ucla.edu/institution/personnel?personnel_id=294334

                                                                                    • Re: What do you think the coolest element is?
                                                                                      hinterauer

                                                                                      I think Hydrogen is the coolest element because it is:  "The the number one" in the periodic system, and will be the number one as "corpuscular energy-carrier". About current knowledge and history use Wiki(pedia).

                                                                                      Yours sincerely,

                                                                                      lorenz.hinterauer@vol.at

                                                                                      • Re: What do you think the coolest element is?
                                                                                        gkassnarayan

                                                                                        Hi! I think Silicon is the coolest element.

                                                                                        To quote from wikipedia

                                                                                        Measured by mass, silicon makes up 27.7% of the Earth's crust and is the second most abundant element in the crust, with only oxygen having a greater abundance. Silicon is usually found in the form of silicon dioxide, or silica, and other more complex silicate minerals

                                                                                         

                                                                                        Silicon is also a principal component of many meteorites, and also is a component of obsidian and tektites, which are natural forms of glass

                                                                                         

                                                                                        In zone melting, also called zone refining, the first silicon purification method to be widely used industrially, rods of metallurgical grade silicon are heated to melt at one end. Then, the heater is slowly moved down the length of the rod, keeping a small length of the rod molten as the silicon cools and re-solidifies behind it. Since most impurities tend to remain in the molten region rather than re-solidify, when the process is complete, most of the impurities in the rod will have been moved into the end that was the last to be melted. This end is then cut off and discarded, and the process repeated if a still higher purity is desired.

                                                                                         

                                                                                        What a cool element Si !!!!!.

                                                                                        • Re: What do you think the coolest element is?
                                                                                          silike

                                                                                          Hi , i think the coolest element is Silicone too . it is very soft and make a great contribution for the thermoplastic industries . And many many additives were made by them , like silicone masterbatch , silicone powder .... 

                                                                                           

                                                                                          Nowadays , all thermoplastic compounds manufactures are pursuit better processing properties and better surface quality , Small addition of silicone additives can help them achieve those properties . But for those high requirements like anti-screatch resistance , abrasion resistance , haha, Silicone additives can help you too.

                                                                                           

                                                                                          So i have to see SILICONE is a great product , Si is the coolest element .

                                                                                          • Re: What do you think the coolest element is?
                                                                                            scerri

                                                                                            One of the coolest elements is element 43, technetium.

                                                                                             

                                                                                            It was first discovered by artificial synthesis. 

                                                                                            Surprisingly rare and radioactive in view of its relatively low atomic number.

                                                                                             

                                                                                            Has found numerous applications as a radioactive tracer in medicine. 

                                                                                            Every major hospital in the world 'makes' Tc for this purpose.

                                                                                             

                                                                                            The only element ever discovered in Italy, or Palermo, Sicily to be precise.

                                                                                             

                                                                                            eric scerri

                                                                                            UCLA Department of Chemistry.

                                                                                             

                                                                                            Please see my new website about the elements and the periodic table and history and philosophy of chemistry.

                                                                                            ericscerri.com/

                                                                                            • Re: What do you think the coolest element is?
                                                                                              bobbuntrock

                                                                                              Since I'm on my second pacemaker (1 year in, 1st lasted 8 years), my new favorite elements are titanium and lithium (case and battery).  Therefore, they are the "coolest".

                                                                                               

                                                                                              -- Bob Buntrock

                                                                                              Orono, ME

                                                                                              • Re: What do you think the coolest element is?
                                                                                                imranvahora2003

                                                                                                Being a pharmacist i would just go for CARBON. we can say that, the drugs, the food, everything that human being or any being consumes can be devoid of any other element but cannot be devoid of carbon. i think 99.99% of drugs in the world would not exist if carbon didn't exist. I don't have seen till now any chemistry book that has a cover page that has no carbon picture on it. even my 10th std book was having fullerene on its cover page, and 12th standard book had sugars' structures on it. everything revolves around carbon methinks. and of course, have you seen any stereochemistry book that starts explaining it taking element other than carbon in it? chemistry starts with carbon and ends with carbon. ohh i'll just write a boooooooooooooooooook on carbon.....

                                                                                                • Re: What do you think the coolest element is?
                                                                                                  sfrench72

                                                                                                  For me the coolest element is Tellurium.  One of the patents I received for discovering a preparative method was for the direct oxidation of Tellurium metal to Tellurium Dioxide.  I had a preparation submitted by a chemist in the corporate research laboratories that used dilute nitric acid and then pyrolysis of the oxynitrate salt to the dioxide.  In my haste one day to scale up the preparation in a 22 liter flask I added the metal powder to hot concentrated nitric acid and forgot to add distilled water.  A great evolution of nitrogen dioxide ensued, which could not be removed from the ventilated air in the hood using caustic spray and caused a dark brown cloud to exit the ventilation stack.  What remained after some additional stirring and heating was nearly pure tellurium dioxide.  It was subsequently washed several times with distilled water and oven dried.  The material was added to other oxides to produce a very high refractive index glass.  In addition to the patent I also got another dubious bonus.  Garlic breath and sweat for several weeks after I had finished the production request.  I also subsequently found out from other experts that nitrogen dioxide can be effectively scrubbed from the air using serial cold water absorption towers.

                                                                                                  • Re: What do you think the coolest element is?
                                                                                                    lisaanagy

                                                                                                    Oh my, how do you pick one?

                                                                                                     

                                                                                                    OK... Lithium.

                                                                                                    For the dissolving metal reductions.

                                                                                                     

                                                                                                    When I was in grad school, I ran lithium - refluxing liquid ammonia dechlorination reactions, usually on a 2.5L scale, because for one compound, that was step three out of sixteen- and after step sixteen came photochemical studies (and sodium ethanol reduction did not work for any of my compounds).

                                                                                                     

                                                                                                    I had my very own personal ammonia gas cylinder..

                                                                                                    For this reaction, after one condenses the ammonia in a -78C (dry ice acetone) bath it is important to let the ammonia warm up almost to reflux (-33C) before slowly adding the lithium. If you do not, the lithium dissolves and re-precipitates as tiny particles of the metal. These react a little too rapidly as the reaction mixture eventually warms up- and well, you won't enjoy that brilliant blue, because you will be too busy trying to avoid a "major chemical incident", and then of course there's the cleanup of the back wall of the hood, and the re-synthesis of the starting materials...

                                                                                                     

                                                                                                    Fortunately I learned the lesson on 500 ml scale, and enjoyed calmly watching that most beautiful color of blue many many times.

                                                                                                     

                                                                                                    Ahhhh, those were the days.

                                                                                                    • Re: What do you think the coolest element is?
                                                                                                      hinterauer

                                                                                                      Maybe it is Thorium? Because there is so much ado about molten salt reactors fed with Thorium. And this reactors might be able to transmute the nowadays nuclear wast to usefull and/or fast decaying products.